Oxford to study drug as potential COVID-19 treatment

LONDON: Oxford University said it would study whether the world’s best-selling prescription medicine, adalimumab, was an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients – the latest effort to repurpose existing drugs as potential coronavirus therapies.
Adalimumab, which is sold under the brand name Humira by AbbVie, is a type of anti-inflammatory known as an anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drug. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 patients already taking anti-TNF drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and inflammatory arthritis are less likely to be admitted to hospital, Oxford said in a statement.
Oxford’s trial, called AVID-CC, will be aimed at treating people in the community, especially in care homes, the university said. It will enrol up to 750 patients from community care settings throughout Britain.
Humira is used to treat a range of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and psoriasis.
The availability of biosimilar versions of the medicine would make it affordable and accessible if the trial is successful, Oxford said. Novartis makes one of the alternatives, Hyrimoz.
Research has identified some treatments for hospitalised COVID-19 patients, including Gilead’s remdesivir as well as the generic steroid drug dexamethasone.–Agencies